Boarding FAQs


General Questions

On average, how many pupils are in each year group and how many of these come from overseas?
This varies between year groups, but there are approximately 70 boarding and day pupils in each year group. On average, eight students per year group are from overseas, with fewer than average at the bottom of the school and more in the sixth form. Approximately one quarter of girls in Finlay are full boarders.

Which countries do the overseas pupils come from?

Currently 16 different countries which include Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

What extra support is available for girls for whom English is not their mother tongue?

Our EAL department offers both language and pastoral support for girls for whom English is not their mother tongue.  For further details please click here.

What is the best time for girls to arrive at the beginning of term?
This depends on the age of the girl and which house she is joining. This information is sent to parents in advance, and it is important that girls do not arrive earlier than a given time as staff may not be in the houses.

What is the best way for overseas girls to buy school uniforms, books, sports equipment, etc?
Parents can either order from the school shop in advance, or purchase these items when they arrive. The telephone number for the school shop is 01727 815205/01962 864043

Are parents allowed to send things to their daughters by post?
Yes. It is particularly useful if the girl’s house is stated in the address.

Can the school put new overseas parents in touch with current overseas parents in order to help them to understand more about the school and the boarding life?
Yes, the school office can arrange this for you. Please click here to e-mail the school office

Is it possible to see the school calendar and future term dates?
Yes, please follow this link to the school calendar.

What time does the school start and finish?
Girls have to be in form rooms by 8.20am for morning registration. They are free to leave following afternoon registration at 4.20pm, but are encouraged to stay on for after-school activities.


How many pupils are in each form?
This ranges from 12 – 20, depending on the year group. Larger classes may be divided into small teaching groups in some subjects.

What subjects are covered in the academic curriculum?
Please follow this link to our curriculum.

Can an overseas pupil take French, German, Spanish and Latin even if she has no experience of these languages.
If girls are joining in L4 they have to take all three subjects (Latin starts in U4). If they are joining later than L4, it will depend on the year group: if joining in U4 there is a choice of two modern languages from French, German or Spanish and they will start Latin but would be unlikely to be able to make up two years' work in French/German/Spanish if joining in L5.

How do I find out more about music at St Swithun’s?
Please follow this link.

What are the total numbers of weekly and full boarders at St Swithun’s?
Currently 520 pupils.21% are weekly boarders and 22% full boarders (Sept 2015).

How are boarding houses chosen?
There are six in total. Le Roy is the junior boarding house for all boarders in L4 (Year 7). Earlsdown, High House, Hillcroft and Hyde Abbey can cater for girls from U4 (Year 8) to the L6 (Year 12) and Finlay is the upper-sixth boarding house.

How many boarders are in each boarding house?
28 is the maximum in Le Roy. Senior boarding houses vary in size from 40 to 52. The maximum in Finlay is 50.

Are all overseas students put in the same boarding house?
They all go into Le Roy in L4 and from U4 they go into one of the senior boarding houses.

What are the bedtimes in the boarding houses?
These vary depending on year group. In Le Roy all girls are in bed at 8.30pm and then have a quiet reading time until lights out at 9.00pm. In U4 (age 12/13) lights out is at 9:30pm. This time is then increased by 10 - 15 minutes (at the discretion of the housemistress) for each higher year group. Bedtime in the sixth form is at their discretion though monitored by the housemistresses.

Are girls allowed laptops, mobile phones and access to internet and e-mail?
Yes, although there is tight internet security and girls do not have access to social networking websites.

What are the catering arrangements for boarders and can they bring their own food into the boarding house?
Main meals are taken in the dining room. All girls (except U6) must attend every meal at the times specified and the house staff also eat in the dining room at breakfast and supper so they can observe eating habits etc. U6 boarders also have the choice of cooking their own supper, eating in town or eating in the dining room. They must be in the house ready to start prep at 7pm.

Girls may bring in non-perishable items of food (eg sweets, crisps, dried fruit…) which must be kept in their tuck boxes in the common room. No food is allowed in the dorms. Boarding houses also provide snacks (fruit, biscuits, tea, toast, toasted sandwiches etc.) In the senior houses the girls are allowed to bring in what they like as snacks. Trips are taken to local supermarkets to stock up on treats for the weekend for all full boarders. The girls are also involved in several ‘cluster’ events each term, where boarders from all year groups meet in small groups for meals which they plan, cook and eat together.

Do boarders share rooms, and what facilities do they have in their accommodation?
The only shared dormitories are in Le Roy. Girls have their own individual cubicles and rooms from U4.

What sort of activities will be arranged during weekend?
Please follow this link to weekend activities.

Are girls allowed to go out with friends and relations outside school?
Yes, by arrangement with her housemistress and permission from her parents/guardian.

What arrangements are made for any health and medical requirements?
There is a fully staffed health centre and visiting school doctor.


Entrance Procedure

What is the entrance exam procedure for girls applying from overseas?

This is the same as it is for girls applying from within the UK. Please click here for the admissions department if you have any specific questions.

 Can you confirm what subjects and how many subjects would be involved in the entrance examinations to overseas applicants?
This varies according to the age of the girl. Please see details in the school prospectus and click here for the admissions department.

What is the procedure for applying for a bursary or scholarship?
Please follow this link for scholarships and bursaries.

Is there any discount if the school fees are paid in advance?
Fees may be paid in advance, for which a discount is given. The discount (which is linked to the gilt rate) is confirmed when the scheme starts and then remains fixed for the duration of the agreement.